The first Christmas I had no money

Roy - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on December 27, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

This was my first Christmas without any money. Until now I had been living off of my weekly unemployment check managing the best I could for me and my family. The amount I received each week was only a fraction of my real salary. With a little creativity I was able to do some odd jobs and part time work to at least attempt to make up the difference. Christmas was slowly approaching and for the first time I didn’t have the money to begin my annual ritual of shopping for gifts for my family. The strange thing about all of this was that the rest of the country was struggling too. The economy for the first time in a decade was bad. Companies were laying people off just before the holidays. I know that experience all too well because I too have been laid off just before the holidays. It happened to me twice. This year would be rough for everyone. The news reports were forecasting that this would be the worse holiday season for all the retail businesses.

The good news for me is that my state of unemployment didn’t last long and soon I was back to work. Facing me was the huge mountain I had to climb to ‘catch up’ with my bills and other expenses. Still for the first time I had no money for Christmas this year. Our Christmas tree was setup as it always is in the corner of our living room angled to the right of front window that faces the street of our house.

There would be no collage of gifts decorated in an array of wrapping paper under the tree. My wife huge our stocking with our names over the fire place. They hung there empty. It is the evening of Christmas Eve. The lights are turned down low. My wife and I sit quietly admiring the shimmering lights on our Christmas tree. We sip our coffees in silence with an attitude of thankfulness. We had to make tough choices this year. Choosing to pay our mortgage versus buying gifts for each other this year was the priority. I thought there would be an air of sadness in my house this year but there wasn’t. We were just grateful to have each other. Even though my tree didn’t have any gifts under it I still found peace knowing I can still put it up. This is what I believe.